Arriving at the Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA 2) less than 4 hours after walking out the front door of home in Hua Hin is now a reality. That’s allowing a generous 30 minutes to commute to the airport to check-in 90 minutes before the flight time and then a 2 hour flight.
My trip to Perth (Western Australia) was a chance to try out the new Hua Hin to Kuala Lumpur Air Asia flight. After all; “as the crow flies” from Hua Hin to Perth; you’d almost pass over KL en route. Being able to avoid Bangkok on an international journey is a major bonus. There’s many a optimistic website that describes commuting from Hua Hin to Bangkok in just two and a half hours; however if you are catching an international flight, especially from Don Muang Airport (that’s DMK); doubling that time is more realistic.
With a flight time of 11.30 AM, I arrived at the Hua HIn Airport (that’s HHQ) around 10 AM for a stress-less checkin. Mind you with only one flight on the schedule, that’s hardly a stressful experience. Perhaps there will be some changes later in the year as unconfirmed reports suggest that flights to Chiang Mai, Phuket and Khon Kaen are under consideration. We’ll wait for an official announcement before speculating any on that possibility. From the check-in counter you’ll be directed up the escalator to the departure lounge via the usual hand luggage scan.
There you’ll find a small snack counter and comfortable seating during the mandatory wait. There’s an expansive view from the lounge across the airport tarmac for some plane spotting, including the arrival of your airbus A 320 aircraft which will taxi to a bay below the departure lounge window. The only bad news was a 30 minute delay for the incoming flight. We learnt later that a runway repair in KL was the problem. It would have been nice if an earlier announcement had been made to the waiting passengers.
The boarding announcement came as the last few disembarking passengers descended the mobile staircase to be offered sun-screening umbrellas for the 50 metre stroll across the tarmac. Our flight was around half full, so it wasn’t long before take-off time and the opportunity to see a different view of the countryside and coastline for those (including me) who haven’t flown from Hua Hin before. Flying with a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) doesn’t mean compromising on safety or security but it does mean a few less creature comforts. Those in the over 6 foot bracket may find the leg (and elbow) space a bit limiting and the entertainment options are only what you bring.
However a two hour flight is barely time enough to ponder the journey. The destination of Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) is the world’s largest airport for budget airlines. It is located approximately two kilometres away from KLIA’s Main Terminal Building and has its own runway and air traffic control tower. The airport allows seamless connectivity for both local and international low-cost carriers. It was built to cater for the explosive growth in the low-cost travel industry and capable of servicing 45 million passengers a year and officially opened on May 2nd 2014.
After leaving probably one of the world’s smallest international airports, arriving at KLIA2 is a bit overwhelming. With 350,000 square feet of retail space spanning over 4 levels and an airport-within-a-mall concept, if there is time to be wasted in transit, you won’t be hungry or bored. If you need to transit to KLIA (1) there are free shuttle options but don’t underestimate how long it will take to reach the check in counter at a different airport. Just make sure you know which of the two airports is your departure point to avoid any confusion. However there are plenty of friendly uniformed guides hovering to provide all the assistance needed.
My flight time to Perth was another 5 hours 30 minutes, but many other destinations could be considered if you don’t just want to explore Malaysia. Singapore in just over an hour away, 8 hours to Sydney or even Chennai (India) and Manila are only 3 hours and 40 minutes further. Maybe the next time you are considering a trip away, the KL option is the way to go. Two hours on the ferry to Pattaya or two hours on a jet to KL?
I know which one I prefer! Flight Schedule: Each Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday Ex Kuala Lumpur 10 AM, arrives at Hua Hin 11 AM (local times) Ex Hua Hin 11.30 AM, arrives Kuala Lumpur 2.30 PM (local times) To book direct at the Air Asia website see: www.booking. airasia.com Cost: My return airfare (HHQ / KLIA 2) was booked via Travel Deals Hua Hin and totalled 3,900 THB. The cost will vary according to the travel date with advanced bookings preferable. Air Asia also has an office at the airport open during office hours for bookings and enquiries.